Friday’s blog post about the impending rules changes for college baseball evoked a strong response from Illinois State assistant coach Tim Brownlee, who reminds us that Mississippi State coach Ron Polk does not speak for everyone in college baseball.
"I completely disagree with everything Ron Polk put in his letter," Brownlee said. "I would like to know who made him the voice for the coaches. He is not out for the good of college baseball, he is out for the good of Mississippi State baseball. Do you think having 66 players in your program is healthy (for the record, the Bulldogs had a 44-man roster in 2007)? That is not looking out for the student-athletes. That is looking out for good ol’ MSU so Southern Miss, Samford, UAB do not get a player who will come back and defeat the Bulldogs one day.
"I don’t know Ron Polk. I am sure he is a good man. I have never heard anyone say a bad word about him. I just don’t agree with the way he has handled this whole situation. He has run his program the right way. There are a lot of programs who have not done it the right way."
Brownlee said that most coaches he has spoken to in the Midwest are in favor of the proposed changes, particularly the 35-man roster cap and the elimination of the one-time transfer exemption. He wasn’t as enthusiastic about the 25 percent minimum scholarship threshold, but he said he could live with that piece of the legislation if it meant curtailing the free movement of players from one school to another.
"With the transfer rule, my summers will be very good because I don’t have to worry about (other coaches) tampering with my kids," Brownlee said. "There are so many vultures out there, and now that’s going to do away with it. The only bad thing about the transfer rule is every year there are two or three guys who aren’t going to play who probably deserve the chance to transfer right away."
Brownlee also said he thinks the roster cap will further competitive balance in college baseball, and more parity would help increase the sport’s popularity as it has for college football.
"We have never had more than 37 players in our program in my 15 years as an assistant coach at the Division 1 level," Brownlee said. "We have never actively recruited players from other programs. We have never taken a scholarship away. We have graduated 95 percent of our players who have stayed for 4 years. If college baseball programs would have done this in the past we would not have needed the changes.
"College baseball is taking a step closer to equality. The so-called ‘traditional powers’ do not like it at all. Look what it has done for college football. I think it is great."
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